Caring Barbie

One might be tempted to think of Barbie as one-dimensional, but this story, taken from her life’s pages, shows her to be a thoughtful and caring individual:

And so they do…

And there you have it. Berry-picking and lip gloss always lift one’s spirits.

A Very Berry Day was written by Rochelle Scott; photography by Willy Lew, Shirley Ushirogata, Lawrence Cassel, Greg Roccia, Andrew Bode, Judy Tsuno and Lisa Collins. Copyright 2004 by Mattel Inc.; published by Reader’s Digest Children’s Books.

Blue Ghosts

“The sky above the roofs, the houses along the sea, sailing boats and steamers moored in the Storm and along the Strandvagen were as blue as Marieberg and Rorstrand porcelain, blue as the sea around the islands, as the Malaren near Drottningholm, as the woods round Saltsjobaden, as the clouds above the highest housetops of the Valhallavagen; that blue that is discernable in the white of the North, in the snow of the North, in the rivers, the lakes, and the forests of the North; the blue that is in the stuccoes of Swedish ecclesiastical architecture, in the coarse, white-painted Louis XV furniture found in the houses of Norrland and Lapland peasants; that blue about which Andres Oesterling talked to me in his warm voice as we walked between the white wooden columns with golden Doric fluting in the auditorium of the Swedish Academy in the Gamle Stade; the milky blue of the Stockholm sky at dawn, when the ghosts who have wandered all night though the streets (the North is the land of ghosts — trees, houses and animals are ghosts of trees, houses and animals) glide back along the pavements like blue shadows; and I had watched them from my window at the Grand Hotel or from the windows of Strindberg’s house, the red brick house at Number Ten Karlaplan where Maioli, First Secretary of the Italian Legation, and the Chilean singer Rosita Serrano now live on different floors. (Rosita Serrano’s ten dachshunds rushed up and down the stairs barking, Rosita’s famous voice rose husky and sweet above the notes of the guitar, and I saw the same blue ghosts wandering through the square that Strindberg met on the stairs returning at dawn, or caught sitting in his hall, stretching on his bed, leaning from his window, pale against the pale sky making signs to invisible passers-by.)”

— From Kaputt (1944) by Curzio Malaparte, translated from the Italian by Cesare Foligno; photo: The Grand Hotel, Stockholm

Chess in Budapest

Raoul Jose Capablanca, Cuban chess player, by Sándor Badacsonyi, born in Budapest, 1949. The artist has been quoted, in translation, “I am considered to be a surrealist or romantic surrealist by critics. I used to be an active chess player  — winner of the Hungarian Team Championship twice, one individual victory — and I drew a parallel between these experiences and my profession. I learned that the consequences of the steps on the chessboard cannot be withdrawn, as etchings are not erasable on a copper plate. And a sketch which is drawn on the canvas does indicate the following movements.”

Emanual Lasker by Anna Forintos, born in Budapest, 1937.

Incense, 1916

In searching for incense images I came across this beauty from Stone Mountain, Georgia: the grand stairway, with incense urn, leading to the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial Hall designed by Gutzon Borglum. He envisioned a hall and museum at the base of the mountain, as well as an amphitheater and a reflecting pond to mirror an enormous bas-relief sculpture of Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis carved into the north face of the mountain. Sadly, the first World War, corrupt officials and a giant snit led Borglum to abandon the project, smashing his models before he left. But this did not stop the project’s fund-raisers from using Borglum’s drawings for brochures and postcards, in spite of the fact that none of his designs were ever used. Borglum moved on, creating Mount Rushmore.

Stone Mountain, begun in 1916, was finally completed in 1970. There is a small visitors’ center, but no incense urn.